Thu. Dec 7th, 2023
Hiker at a lookout.

For many, fall is the ideal season for outdoor fun. But as temperatures begin to drop, we want to make sure our hikers and campers are safe while exploring our parks.

With the help of our friends at Subaru Canada, we’ve put together some top tips to keep you warm and dry during your fall forays:

1. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst

Chances are you have a refreshing day of outdoor adventures lined up, but wise adventurers are prepared in case things don’t go as planned.

Choose trails appropriate to your experience level (if you’re unsure, park staff will be happy to offer advice).

staff talking to visitor

Let your friends or family know where you’re going, what your route will be, and when you’ll check in after your adventure. If you go on a day hike, make sure you have enough time to finish the trail before dark.

Carry an appropriate emergency kit for your planned excursion. This could include:

  • First aid box
  • survival kit (e.g. knife, lighter, water purification tablets, emergency blanket, paracord)
  • headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries
  • navigation equipment (e.g., map and compass, GPS, navigation app on your phone)
  • Emergency Locator Beacon/Satellite Communicator (Spot or Garmin Inreach devices work via satellite so you can communicate when you don’t have cell reception. If you have trouble, press the SOS button and help will be notified with your location)
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2. Start fresh; stay dry

If you’re hot before you even start a hike, you’ll quickly overheat and sweat once you start moving. This increases your risk of hypothermia.

people walking

To avoid sweating, start cool. Dress in layers of absorbent, quick-drying fabric, such as merino wool or synthetics.

3. But not too cool

It is important not to let your body cool down when you take your breaks.

Keep a synthetic or down puffer jacket in your backpack for when you stop. They are warm, light and take up very little space.

4. Keep your feet dry

On humid autumn days, it is difficult to keep your feet dry. Make sure you have waterproof (but breathable) footwear and wear absorbent socks made of merino wool.

boots on the road

On rainy days or humid mornings, add gaiters to stay dry from the knees down.

5. Feed your body

Keep your warmth and energy with high-calorie foods and hot drinks.

Nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, energy bars, and high-calorie energy drinks can be great options for the trail. Bring a compact camp stove with a small pot or store hot chocolate in a thermos.

Don’t forget to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.

6. Pack for cold weather

Yes, we know: the title of today’s post specifically says “Cold climatic adventures.”

child in baby carrier on walk

But “cool” can quickly turn to “cold” in fickle fall weather, especially if you get caught in the rain.

Always carry a warm hat, gloves and a waterproof jacket in case the weather changes. By keeping your hands, head and trunk warm, you will be much more comfortable, even in humid and unpleasant weather.

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7. Sleep well

Spending the night?

Make sure your sleeping pad is insulated and that your sleeping bag is 5-10°C colder than you expect.

A blue SUV parked next to a red and white tent.

You can adapt your gear for warm weather by adding a foam pad under your sleeping pad and adding a sleeping bag liner to your summer bag.

If you experience a particularly cold night, add layers of clothing to increase your warmth.

tent at night

Happy trails!

Ontario Parks thanks its corporate partners subaru logolike Subaru Canada for their support.